HabsWorld.net -- 

As we find ourselves in the dog days of summer,
arguably the slowest month of the offseason, there seems to be many questions
concerning the Habs right now then answers. Even after all GM Bob Gainey has
done so far there still seems to be a feeling surrounding the team that it still
isn’t complete. This article will take a look at some of the issues and try to
make sense of it all before the season begins.

First on the list is all this talk about what, if any, trade(s) Bob makes to
round out his roster. The most notable rumours out there are the three way with
the Sharks and Sens, and the potential trade of Roman Hamrlik to the Blue
Jackets. The first rumoured deal began to pick up steam last week when it was
reported on TSN and RDS that the Habs may help facilitate a trade of Dany
Heatley to the Sharks. Why some would ask, would the Habs be willing to help a
divisional rival move their most disgruntled player? At first some would say
that would rather see the Sens be stuck with him in hopes that they would be
torn apart from the inside out, but there are some pros to helping move the two
time fifty goal scorer. The first good reason is exactly that, with Heatley gone
there also goes a pile of goals that could contribute to Habs losses. The other
way a trade of this nature could help the team is that it could help solidify
the second line. I won’t begin to guess which players come the Habs way, but it
can be assured that if Bob does get involved in a deal like this, he will only
do it to make the team better than it would be before.

The second possible trade being floated around involves Roman Hamrlik going to
the Columbus Blue Jackets for a package including Rostislav Klesla and Fredrik
Modin. If I were Bob I would err on the side of caution in a deal like this.
Hamrlik is only a year removed from being a stabilizer on the Habs blue line. He
came to this team and really made the other defensemen better. He contributed
offensively and was solid defensively. It can’t be that far of a stretch to
think that he could have the same effect this year can it? Even with his larger
cap hit I still think its in the teams’ best interest to keep him this season
rather then pick up an inconsistent offensive defenseman and an aging forward
who has seen his point production decrease every year since 2004. And speaking
of Columbus, would ex-Jacket Nikolai Zherdev be an option for the second line?

Up next is the need for the Habs to select their next captain. Replacing Saku
Koivu will be no easy feat for whoever the team picks, as his job wasn’t
necessarily the easiest one to begin with. The logical choice would be Andrei
Markov. He is now the longest serving Hab as well as their best player, but he
has never been known as the most vocal player on the team and his not knowing
French will raise the same concerns with the media that hounded Koivu for 10
years. In the end Markov would be better suited to serve as an assistant captain
and quietly leading the team by example. So who else is there? Well some players
that come to mind include, Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri, Maxim Lapierre, and
Josh Gorges. All are the type of player who gives it their all every shift and
does all they can to help the team be a winner on and off the ice. Any of these
would be good choices and regardless of who the team chooses its safe to assume
it will be in good hands.

Lastly, there is the question of how well will this team play together? This off
season has arguable been the biggest in team history as far as player turnover
goes with so many familiar faces leaving and a large amount coming in. Will
playing under a Jacques Martin system help speed up the bonding process or will
it take longer for different types of players to conform to playing one style of

Well that’s all for now. As was mentioned before this is the quiet time of the
hockey year but it does not mean that the wheels aren’t turning at all. Bob will
continue to work towards crafting this team into one that he sees fit to lead
the Habs into a new era of winning. And who knows what will happen between now
and October 1st when they hit the ice for the first time of the 2009-2010
season. We will all just have to sit back and wait for the summer to unfold.